Monday, September 29, 2014

Franny's Penne with Zucchini and Mint


I have fond memories of Franny's, so I was excited to learn that the restaurant had released a cookbook! Pasta and pizza for days! 
This pasta recipe is one of the more simple dishes in the cookbook. The recipe suggests to use Romanesco zucchini, but I think your usual package of two zucchinis from Trader Joes should also be just fine. 

According to the cookbook, the key to pulling a lot of flavor out of the zucchini is to make sure it is nicely browned. Okay, that sounds easy enough! I also learned what a difference nicely browned garlic can make in a dish. I had this pasta for lunch for two days later and the browned garlic flavor really elevated all the other flavors in the dish, yum!

Ignore the blurry photo, my iPhone camera is on its way out. 


The cookbook overall is fun to flip through, and all of the recipes I have tried so far (spoiler alert!) have been a total hit! 

Penne with Zucchini and Mint, from Franny's: Simple. Seasonal Italian

Serves 4


  • 1 3/4 pounds of zucchini 
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound penne (Caputo's in BK has nice homemade pastas!)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 8 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1/4 cup plus a scant 3 tbsp. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 3 tbsp. chopped mint
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper 
Slice each zucchini into 2-inch-by1/4 inch batons (you will have about 5 cups). 

In a large skillet, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over high heat. Add half the zucchini, season with salt, and cook, but don't move it, until dark golden and almost tender (2-3 minutes). With a slotted spoon, transfer the zucchini to a paper-towel lined plate. Add another 2 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet and repeat with the remaining zucchini. Add 2 tablespoons water to the pan, and then remove from the heat. 

In a large pot of well-salted boiling water, cook the pasta according to the instructions, until about 2 minutes shy of al dente, then drain.

In the same skillet used for the zucchinis, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Toss in the penne and the zucchini, and cook until the pasta is al dente, 1 to 2 minutes, adding more water if the sauce seems dry. Toss in 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano and the remaining tablespoon of butter. Add the mint and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide the pasta among individual serving bowls (I'm not judging if you want to share 4 portions between 2 people). Finish each with a drizzle of olive oil and a few microplane zests of more cheese. 

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